Heralds (spondophoroi) were sent from Elis to advertise the coming of the Games across Greece. Spectators came from not only the Greek mainland but also the islands, Ionia and Magna Graecia. To facilitate the movement of spectators and athletes and in respect of the religious importance of the Games a sacred truce (ekecheiria) was called across Greece. Initially, the truce was for one month but in later centuries it was extended to three. No wars were permitted, no arms could be carried in the territory of Elis and no hindrance was to be given to any spectator, athlete or theoriai – (the official missions representing particular cities) travelling to the games from wherever they came from and whichever territory they had to cross.
The site of Olympia must have been positively buzzing during a Games with mass crowds of excited spectators staying in make-shift camp sites (only later was accommodation provided for the visitors) and admiring the masses of fine statues and buildings at the site. Food vendors, craftsmen, musicians, poets and philosophers took full advantage of the crowds to publicise their wares or ideas. Just how many spectators attended each Games is unknown but we do know that around 45,000 spectators consisting of men, slaves and foreigners sat and watched from the embankments of the stadium which hosted the main events. Spectators actively participated in the events through their boisterous support of the athletes and after each event they showered flowers and laurel leaves on the victors.